Crypto Currency, Enterprise

The Top 10 Cryptocurrencies for 2018

For many people, 2017 will be considered the year that Cryptocurrencies entered the mainstream. No longer an obscure new technology…

For many people, 2017 will be considered the year that Cryptocurrencies entered the mainstream. No longer an obscure new technology used by a small number of enthusiastic followers, knowledge of their potential value is now widespread and many are looking for the Top 10 Cryptocurrencies for 2018.

Trading different Cryptocurrencies for investment purposes has become normal with many investors making large financial gains over the previous 12 months.

However, in recent weeks, there have been several events that have caused short-term volatility in the prices of various Cryptos. In some cases, the price falls have been dramatic.

Looking forward into 2018, what Cryptocurrencies are likely to weather this storm and come out on top at the end of the year?

 

The Strongest Contenders

 

1. Bitcoin (BTC)

This is the original cryptocurrency, emerging in 2008 after it was released by an anonymous programmer or group of individuals under the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto.

Although it has increased in value throughout 2017, this is causing problems as the huge amount of people trading it has made its value incredibly volatile, meaning that it is increasingly difficult to use to buy things.

Its value, however, could still be driven higher in 2018.

There are a very small number of cryptos which you can buy directly with fiat currency on trading exchanges. On a Cryptocurrency trading platform, you usually have to buy an established crypto like Bitcoin with fiat currency and then trade that for the crypto you actually want to purchase.

The fact that Bitcoin is still peoples first choice in this regard means that it remains a very important Cryptocurrency in 2018.

 

2. Ethereum

This is often seen as the number two option in the Crypto community and is looked upon as Bitcoin’s main rival. However, it is very different to Bitcoin.

It is composed of two parts ‘Ethereum’ which is the underlying network and ‘Ether’ which are tokens sent on the network.

Again, whilst Ethereum is not in use widely by the general public, the fact that you usually have to buy an established crypto with fiat currency and then trade that for the crypto you actually want to purchase means that Ethereum, which is also used in this regard, is likely to continue to be popular in 2018.

 

3. Ripple (XRP)

This is a Crypto that experienced huge price rises in 2017. Despite appearing to be a competitor to the other major Cryptos, Ripple serves a different purpose and is, in fact, a centralised transaction network which can be used to transfer money just like a bank.

Money sent on the Ripple network is converted into the XRP token on one end and then back into the currency of choice at the other end.

Towards the end of 2018, several major companies began to announce trials of Ripple in its capacity as a payments mechanism. Should any of these trials prove successful in 2018, this could be the first Crypto to be used widely with obvious implications for demand for the XRP token.

However, it is not alone though in its design as a transaction network and has some competition in Stellar.

 

4. Stellar (XLM)

Launched in 2014 Stellar is different. Whereas most of the coins out there are just coins, Stellar is comprised of two things, the Stellar network, a network that can potentially be used to transfer everything from Dollars to Bitcoin and the other part, Stellar Lumen.

Stellar Lumen were coins created by the founders of Stellar. These tokens can also be sent on the Stellar network to pay for things potentially. But they have another use. There is a fee to send anything (Dollars, Bitcoin) on the Stellar payment network and this fee is paid in Stellar Lumen.

One Lumen is enough to make 100,000 payments though so a little goes an awful long way. When the time comes to sell Stellar it’s the Stellar Lumen tokens you will be selling.

After a slow start, there were several trials announced of Stellar in its capacity as a payments mechanism in late 2017 with the first Stellar ATM due to launch in Singapore shortly. Like Ripple, it faces into an exciting 2018.

 

5. Monero (XMR)

Monero is an open source Cryptocurrency that was created in 2014. It represents a revolution in Cryptocurrency technology.

It improves on existing Cryptocurrencies as it hides the identity of the sender, recipient and transaction amount using a sophisticated algorithm which has been extensively tested.

In the future, the value of Monero is potentially very strong. Its supply is about the same as Bitcoin yet the underlying technology potentially represents a major improvement on Bitcoin.

The technical structures used to preserve anonymity are stronger than Bitcoin and transaction speeds using the coin are at present much faster than Bitcoin.

 

The challengers

Whilst the 5 coins above remain likely to grab all the attention in 2018, the next 5 on our Top 10 Cryptocurrencies list are the ones which could generate some surprises.

 

6. Bitcoin Cash (BCH)

In August 2017 a disagreement between Bitcoin users over its increasing technical limitations led to what is known as a fork of the Bitcoin code. A group of Bitcoin enthusiasts ‘forked’ the token by switching to new software, hoping it could grow and scale in a way that Bitcoin could not.

The result of that fork was the birth of a whole new token, with a whole new circulation and a new public ledger sperate from the original Bitcoin ledger.

Since its inception, the coin has nearly always been in the top 10 Cryptocurrencies. It has yet to overtake Bitcoin but its founders surely hope that their technical efforts will bear fruit in 2018.

 

7. Cardano (ADA)

Yet another platform used to send and receive digital money, employing the use of its digital token ADA. It was created by Ethereum co-founder Charles Hopkinson in 2015 and is most popular in Japan.

Cardano is managed by an international group of scientists and academics specialising in blockchain technology. Again, should its unique technology result in more adoption it would become an important Crypto to watch in 2018.

 

8. NEO (NEO)

This is a relatively new Cryptocurrency. It enables the development of smart contracts and assets on the blockchain. Neo’s objective, while ultimately utilising many of the same technologies as Ethereum, is to be the platform for a new smart economy

NEO is compared to Ethereum because the two platforms share similar roles and goals, but the underlying technology is very different.

This coin is in its very early days but is supported by an excellent team and had an excellent 2017 with many investors encouraged by its potential based on the high profile of its founders.

 

9. Litecoin (LTC)

Litecoin is a peer-to-peer Cryptocurrency. Notable differences between Litecoin and say Bitcoin is Litecoin’s much faster transaction speeds and 84 million token limit in comparison to Bitcoins 16 million. However, it does have a more memory intensive mining process than Bitcoin.

Whilst it is likely to remain popular in 2018, it is facing into an increasingly competitive market. Its speed though means it will likely continue to remain relevant throughout the year.

 

10. EOS (EOS)

EOS is another blockchain platform aiming to overtake Ethereum as the go-to infrastructure for decentralised apps.

Revealed to the world at the Consensus 2017 event, it is very new and has some way to go to become established.

The platform was created to overtake Ethereum’s low number of transactions per second, which EOS’ founders believed was not high enough to support what would be needed in the future.

EOS can handle up to 50,000 transaction confirmations per second. This puts it ahead way of Ethereum in terms of speed.

One to watch and our final entry to our Top 10 Cryptocurrencies for 2018.

To check on all the current Cryptocurrency prices – CoinMarketCap

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Android, Antivirus, Apple, Chromebook, Enterprise, Internet Security, Microsoft, Mobile, OS X, Windows

Is Buying Antivirus Software Necessary?

Let’s address the elephant in the room – malware and viruses do exist! Devices are not immune so we have…

Let’s address the elephant in the room – malware and viruses do exist! Devices are not immune so we have to ask “Is Buying Antivirus Software Necessary?”! It is worth noting that if your phone, tablet or computer is invulnerable to internet threats today, it isn’t a guarantee it will stay so forever.

Having said that, let’s discuss why viruses are immensely prevalent on some platforms while on others they are almost non-existent.

First and foremost, we need to understand that cybercrime is a lucrative business. Hackers are always in search of ways to sneak in into users’ systems and capitalize on sensitive information.

While most vulnerabilities till now have been centered around the Windows OS, other system software like that of Apple’s isn’t as protected either as it once used to be.

It’s not that there are issues with Apple’s inbuilt security system, but rather, cyber culprits have found new ways of slipping through advanced defense systems. The reason why they have started out so late is that they were pretty content targeting the much easier and larger number of Windows and Android users till now.

Though Apple’s security is pretty impressive, it isn’t completely immune. For cybercriminals exploiting the system, it is just a matter of time.

As of now, Apple doesn’t really have antivirus software for the iOS and the same goes for Google’s Chrome OS, one of the most secure systems to date.

The few apps that claim to protect devices running on these operating systems are probably Security Software. So, for the time being, we will focus our attention on Windows, OS X, and Android systems.

 

Windows PCs and Laptops

 

Before progressing any further, let’s answer the simpler stuff first – Is buying antivirus software necessary for windows 7 or older?

The answer is simple and straightforward – YES, IT IS!

Now back to what’s more popular: What about Windows 8 and Windows 10?

While Windows 8 and above have had some significant improvements in their security system, especially after the introduction of Windows 10 with which Windows Defender Antivirus (a step-up to the Microsoft Security Essentials) comes included, the everlasting question whether one needs an additional antivirus software or not still remains unanswered.

Before passing any judgment, it must be noted that Windows Defender switches off gracefully once it detects a third-party program to avoid any interference. Hence, you once an antivirus software is installed and running the Windows Defender isn’t going to work any longer. Unless you are confident with your antivirus software, it is best letting Microsoft’s default defender do the job.

While Windows Defender if good, it certainly isn’t the best! According to AV-TEST, Microsoft’s inbuilt security program score a 4.5 out of 6. Of course, it isn’t bad but not as capable as Avira’s or Avast’s antivirus software that topped the list in December 2017.

 

Mac OS X Desktop Computers and Laptops

 

For a long time, Mac OS X was incredibly safe. Apple’s intelligently designed sandbox OS made it extremely difficult for criminals to hack Apple devices.

As a matter of fact, if a few years ago a Mac user would install an antivirus software, the only purpose it would solve was preventing it from passing to other devices on the same network. However, Macs have been cracked and have lately been more vulnerable to threats like never before.

For now, home users are pretty safe from being affected by a malware or a virus. Even though not many Mac users have been affected by a virus, it wouldn’t be right to forget that the risks are there.

To be on the safer side, it wouldn’t be a bad idea investing in an antivirus. Just like for the Windows, antivirus software from Kaspersky, Symantec and Avast do an impressive job of protecting Apple devices.

 

Android Phones and Tablets

 

It wouldn’t be safe to say that Android viruses do not exist at all. However, as long as one refrains from downloading apps from external sources, it is almost impossible your device to be infected by a virus or malware.

While, by default, Google doesn’t allow its Android users to installs apps from third-party source, this can be easily modified through a few steps in the settings. If you regularly install apps from unknown sources or are one of those courageous users who fiddle with their devices by gaining root access, having an antivirus installed wouldn’t be a bad idea.

It must be noted, that the Android threats known till now aren’t as malicious as the ones affecting Windows PCs and Laptops. This is mainly because it isn’t as easy to exploit an Android device and there isn’t much reason to do so as most of the sensitive information that hackers are in the hunt for is one computer.

As of now, there hasn’t been an Android malware that has caused booting issues for a device. Even if one feels his Android phone or tablet has been affected by a virus, all he has to do is back up his data and run a factory reset.

While having an antivirus might seem something optional, one might not regret having a security software instead installed on his Android.

What is important to keep in mind is that Android runs on devices that have a tendency to get stolen. Losing a phone or a tablet is quite daunting indeed. But giving away sensitive information is even worse. And, that is where security software plays a crucial role.

 

Is Buying Antivirus Software Necessary or will a free version suffice?

 

While free antivirus software today, like the Sophos Antivirus, protect devices from threats to a good degree, they are obviously nowhere near to what the paid ones are capable of doing.

Whether or not to pay for an antivirus or whether even having one is required is a highly personal opinion and there are certain things that are to be considered while making such a decision. If of course, you have important data on your device, something you cannot afford lose an inexpensive antivirus is worth adding to the expense.

For some suggestions on which antivirus to pick, check our article – Top 5 Antivirus programs for 2018

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Crypto Currency

The Top 10 Tools for Managing your Crypto Wallet

Buying and Selling Cryptocurrency is relatively straightforward, there are a huge number of guides available online which make the process…

Buying and Selling Cryptocurrency is relatively straightforward, there are a huge number of guides available online which make the process very clear. However, storing and managing your crypto wallet can be a lot more confusing.

Whilst Crypto is stored in a wallet, there are many different types of wallet available all with different features and levels of functionality.

The vast majority of holders of Crypto use ‘hot’ wallets which are software programs which are connected to the internet at all times. They are the most readily available and the easiest to set up. This is especially true of those new to the Crypto market.

This article aims to provide the majority with some insight into the top tools available to help manage Cryptocurrency.

Here we go!

Increase Security

One of the most useful tools for managing your Crypto, especially if you are new to the market is a ‘cold’ wallet, one that it is not connected to the internet.

Currently, the most widely used and tested ones are –

Ledger Nano S

This is a smooth, strong, safe and affordable hardware wallet and one of the most competitively priced. Widely used, it is a multicurrency wallet integrated into a smartcard device.

It is very light and easy to use. To use it you simply connect it to a USB port and you are ready to go. It works on any computer, regardless of the operating system.

TREZOR

One of the best-known hardware wallets. It supports the major Cryptos so would work well as a Bitcoin Wallet or an Ethereum Wallet. There is full support for Windows (version 7 and higher), OS X (version 10.8 and higher) and Linux.

You can also use your TREZOR with Android devices which have USB On-The-Go. Trezor is considered to be one of the most secure ‘cold’ Crypto wallets available on the market today with complex security.

KeepKey

KeepKey works with the wallet software on your computer by taking over the management of private key generation, private key storage, and transaction signing. KeepKey generates a private key using its hardware-based random number generator, combined with randomness provided by your computer.

Once your private key is generated, you are given the one-time opportunity to write down a backup of your KeepKey in the form of a twelve-word recovery sentence. This is one of the simplest wallets to use an is widely available in major online retailers.

Archos

This well established French company with many years’ experience also recently launched a hardware wallet. Many of the features to be found on popular hardware wallets such as the Ledger Nano are replicated here, including the ability to generate a private key and support for a range of currencies.

Bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ethereum, litecoin, and zcash will all be supported, with more to be added. The device can also be used to add an additional layer of security to other third-party wallets.

Manage Your Portfolio

CryptoCompare

If you are one of the many people that hold Crypto across multiple wallets, then this may be the tool for you.

This is an excellent mobile app that aims to assist you to manage your portfolio of Cryptos across multiple wallets. With this app, you not only enter what your holdings are but where they are stored. This may seem like an unusual feature but, it is an excellent one.

It allows you to monitor how much Crypto you have stored in ‘hot’ wallets giving you the opportunity to move them into a ‘cold’ wallet for greater security. This can be an important thing to monitor given how rapidly Crypto values can change.

CoinTracker

This is a platform which you can also use to track your crypto across all exchanges and wallets. CoinTracker automates this process. You start by connecting it to every exchange you use (once it’s supported by the software) and can also add the public address to any wallet that holds Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Dogecoin.

It will automatically read the balance and update it in your portfolio. A useful tool to manage your Bitcoin wallet and Ethereum wallet in particular as these can contain very high values depending on when you entered the market!

Increase Trading Speed

SikurPhone

If you use a ‘cold’ wallet then you are aware of the disadvantages. You may not have it with you when markets change especially when you want to dispose of some Crypto quickly, or even buy more. The potential solution here is SikurPhone.

This is a very high security mobile phone with a built in Cryptocurrency wallet which can be used as a Bitcoin wallet or Ethereum wallet for example.

Don’t get caught out by the markets through your use of a ‘cold’ wallet. Take your wallet with you in this device which also functions as a mobile phone. Far more natural to carry around with you than bringing another hardware wallet that you need a computer to use!

Eidoo

Again this app adds functionality to the traditional wallet and increases trading speed. The app works by creating a mobile app that serves as a multicurrency digital wallet for Bitcoin, Ethereum, and all ERC20 tokens.

Additionally, Eidoo functions as a hybrid exchange, allowing users to sell, buy, spend and convert cryptocurrencies on one platform.

Once users download the Eidoo mobile app, they can secure all their multi-asset accounts and addresses, as well as their signing keys. Eidoo simplifies and protects wallets by allowing users to access their cryptocurrencies in one place with one password, which is comprised of 12 words.

In case of emergency, Eidoo also offers a “recovery tool” designed to provide users with their tokens in a simple manner.

A very cool app and an interesting one to watch from this Swiss start up.

Reduce the number of wallets you need

Whilst you can increase trading speed and security one of the best tools to use is a multicurrency wallet that reduces the number of wallets you need to hold. You can try these two to start.

Exodus

Exodus is designed for people who have never used an exchange. It is really simple to use and particularly good for those trading Bitcoin or Ethereum.

Exodus currently supports Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, Dash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin and unusually Decred.

Jaxx

Very popular Jaxx was first developed in 2014 and serves not only as a Bitcoin wallet but an app which can store multiple cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin, Dash, Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash.

Ripple is not currently supported but the Jaxx team have hinted they may support this feature in the future.

 

That’s it!

Clearly, there are a huge number of tools out there to help you to manage your Cryptocurrency wallet. Hopefully, this article has given you a good place to start!

 

 

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Antivirus, Apple, Chromebook, Enterprise, Internet Security, Microsoft, OS X, Windows

5 Reasons to keep your operating system up to date

Many users have developed the bad habit of delaying or ignoring operating systems updates. They see the little pop up…

Many users have developed the bad habit of delaying or ignoring operating systems updates. They see the little pop up reminders and simply hit “postpone” without a second thought. That is until they experience their first major problem with their shiny new PC or laptop!

Instead of putting off important updates, which we all know inevitably pop up at the least opportune times, users should prioritise them. This is not only to keep yourself secure but also it has benefits relating to your computers performance speed.

So, why is it so important to keep your system updated?

 

Security vulnerability fixes

 

The very first reason why new updates constantly appear is to fix security holes. The thing is, no matter how secure an operating system is designed to be, hackers more often than not find ways to exploit systems. Most malicious threats are caused by security flaws that remain unfixed due to a not up-to-date OS.

By ignoring updates, this is the digital equivalent of leaving your doors unlocked and open!

 

Better Functionality

 

An OS update will usually provide its users with new and enhanced features. This might also include processing speed improvements. So, the next time you feel your computer isn’t functioning as good as it used to a few weeks back, all you might have to do is wait for an update!

Other functionality features can include improved web browsers or built in security features such as fingerprint ID or face recognition logins.

 

Bug fixes

 

All software providers, including your OS provider, carry out meticulous checks before selling their products. However, it is only after some time that faults in the source code starts to appear. That is where updates come into play.

By not updating and having these bugs in play, many bad things can potentially happen on your PC. From software simply not working to an entire OS failure at the extreme end of the spectrum!

 

Improvement of Hardware performance

 

OS updates very often bring along driver updates. A driver is a piece of software that allows the operating system to interact with hardware. Depending on the hardware connected to a computer, driver updates might increase the overall performance of your machine, especially when it comes to gaming and connecting to the Wi-Fi.

Although many hardware manufacturers provide driver update capabilities separately, OS providers have improved leaps and bounds in recent years as far as seamlessly providing driver updates is concerned.

 

Avoiding passing a virus to other computers

 

While your computer’s operating system might be relatively immune to different malware, it doesn’t necessarily mean it cannot spread to other devices that are on the same network you are on.

For instance, your Macintosh should be quite safe from cyber attacks however you may easily pass a threat to your friends or colleagues who are on a Windows device if you are sharing a common network.

While an update might not be able to completely prevent such a scenario, it definitely can reduce the risks associated with it.

As well as updating your operating system, make sure you have an anti-virus installed to protect yourself. For more information check our article – Top 5 Antivirus programs for 2018

 

No excuses – Keep your Operating System up to date!

 

Don’t forget, system updates are designed to protect their users from cyber attacks and provide the best performance. Ignoring them might prove critical to the functioning of your device. If you want to ensure best user experience, there really shouldn’t be an excuse to not keep your operating system up to date!

 

 

 

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Crypto Currency

What is the difference between Bitcoin and Ethereum?

It has been a very exciting year for Cryptocurrency with the market value of most major Cryptos increasing dramatically over…

It has been a very exciting year for Cryptocurrency with the market value of most major Cryptos increasing dramatically over the past 12 months. Investors saw the increasing adoption of Cryptocurrency as a payment method and decided to back its potential.

In addition to inflows of capital from investors keen to hold Cryptocurrency, substantial resources were also invested in the technical development of various Cryptocurrencies.

The underlying infrastructure needed to support the wider adoption and use of Cryptocurrency also benefited from increased levels of innovation and development throughout the year.

In the midst of all this activity two Cryptocurrencies in particular have attracted a lot of attention; Bitcoin and Ethereum. This has been for a variety of reasons, but it has resulted in these two Cryptos being the most widely held ones at present.

But what is the difference between Bitcoin and Ethereum? This article will take you on a short journey through the Crypto landscape to explain what these differences are.

 

Bitcoin

 

Bitcoin was the very the first Cryptocurrency. It was invented by an unknown person or group of people under the name Satoshi Nakamoto and released as open-source software in 2009.

It operates on a peer-to-peer basis with transactions taking place between users directly, without an intermediary. Essentially people can send Bitcoins to each other directly thus transferring value to each other without having to go through a bank or other payment provider.

These transactions are verified by network nodes through the use of cryptography and recorded in a publicly available ledger known as a Blockchain.

 

What exactly is a Blockchain?

 

A Blockchain is a public record of all transactions in a particular system that have ever been executed. It cannot be tampered with or edited and is protected by cryptography.

A Blockchain thus stands as an unchangeable record of all transactions on a network, accessible to all participants. It is essentially a public record of all of the transaction which have taken place on a particular network, but it can also be much more.

 

Enter Ethereum!

 

Whilst Blockchain technology, in the beginning, was used as a method to simply record transactions between people using things like Bitcoin, it is now being developed further and used to support applications which are beyond just a digital currency like Bitcoin.

Ethereum is one of those advances. Launched in 2014, it is an open-ended decentralized software platform that enables smart contracts and Distributed Applications to be built and run. This is designed to happen without any downtime or interference from a third party by using Blockchain technology in a different way to Bitcoin.

Ethereum is not just a platform but also a programming language running on a blockchain. It is designed to help developers to build and publish distributed applications, not just transfer value between each other. It is far more than just another Cryptocurrency.

No one owns the Ethereum network itself, but the system runs it cannot be run for free. The network needs ‘ether’, a unique piece of code that can be used to pay for the computational resources needed to run an application or program. Ether is the token you see traded widely on Crypto exchanges.

The potential applications of Ethereum are wide-ranging and it is really only at the beginning of what could be a very exciting journey.

 

Difference Between Bitcoin and Ethereum?

 

While both Bitcoin and Ethereum are powered by the principle of a distributed ledger that is really where the major similarities end.

The difference between Bitcoin and Ethereum is their purpose. While Bitcoin is created as an alternative to regular money and is thus a method of payment and store of value, Ethereum is developed as a platform which facilitates peer-to-peer contracts and other software applications.

While Bitcoin and Ether, the token which runs on Ethereum, are both digital currencies, the primary purpose of Ether is not to be used to make payments but to assist developers in running distributed applications on the Ethereum platform.

 

Conclusion

 

As we have seen Bitcoin was designed to transfer value anonymously just like any other coin but Ethereum has much more advanced aims. It wants to be a platform which can be used to distribute other software applications and facilitate far more complex types of interaction than just the transfer for value.

Ethereum and its goals are more in line with the greater discussion around Blockchain based technology we can see today. Companies around the world see the Blockchain as something which can be used for much more than just value transfer.

It is certainly a very exciting time to be involved in this area. A public peer to peer ledger that cannot be tampered with offers up so many more possibilities than what it is being used for at present. Possibly far more than Satoshi Nakamoto could have envisaged all the way back in 2008.

 

More articles on cryptocurrency in our cryptocurrency section

 

 

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